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10 Mistakes Africans in their 20’s are Making Today & How to Overcome Them.

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The African youth population is made of 65% youth, largely made up of teens and twenties.

In this previous post   I wrote about how the acceptance of the unemployment narrative is causing some African youth to lack the motivation and aggressiveness needed to get ahead.

The twenties are a critical part of adulthood development; this is according to Ph. D researcher and TED fellow Meg J, in her book ‘The defining Decade. Why your twenties matter and how to make the most out of them.’ What this means is that without the right information, ‘twenty somethings’ limit themselves unconsciously.

As a twenty something reading this book has illuminated my life and allowed me to examine myself and others like me. We need to work on these mistakes.


  1. Wasting time by living without perspective.  Socrates said that an unexamined life is not worth living. Holding on to the past or focusing too much on the present that we forget to prepare for the future is going to cost us. We need to strive for constant improvement.
  2. Squandering years on things that do not matter.With the shortening of life expectancy, we cannot afford to waste any more time on drugs, political extremism, allowing ourselves to be wasted by bad political leaders, religious extremism, hating other people, among others. We need to be happy and work towards our dreams.
  3. Living distracted. I struggle with this. This age of news and gadgets does get me distracted. However, I have become aware of this and learned that ‘while hope is good for breakfast it is bad for supper.’ We cannot allow ourselves to be distracted like a shallow stream, we must be majestic rivers that move forward on course.
  4. Putting things off things for later. Doing things later does not mean you will do them better. Twenty somethings who are putting off their dreams or ideas till they are old and experienced have something else coming. It is better to do it today. Meg J says that this are the years when it is easiest to start the life we want for ourselves.
  5. Not having a career.Make hay while the sun shines. At our twenties, the sun is still high up. Yes, the African continent is at a disadvantage in a many areas but No, we should not accept this as fate. Failing to develop a career and consequently a source of income for ourselves negatively affects our future.
  6. Surrounding themselves with ‘like-minded’ people. People from your clan, tribe, religion or country do not have many new things to offer except for a few who are forward moving and avid personal developers. Almost always, new things come from people outside your inner circle. Your entire life could change if you expand your network and put yourself out there.
  7. Focusing on the negative. Being against something is easy. We cannot get ahead by constantly focusing on what we do not like but we should focus on the causes we believe in and things that we love. We should look on the bright side of things and focus our energies on the things that are going right.
  8. Holding on to the past. Parents make mistakes. Education in this continent is unequal. In our twenties we should let it all go, we should think of it as a clean canvass where we now paint our future, therefore, we cannot allow the mistakes of our childhood determine how our future will be. Whatever it is you want to change about yourself now is the time to change it. Do not be defined by what you did not know or did not do.
  9. Fear and Inaction. It’s okay to lack confidence, however, twenty somethings who hide in unemployment because they lack confidence are not serving themselves. Writer and Lecturer, Dale Carnegie said that inaction breeds fear and doubt, action breeds confidence and courage. If we want to conquer fear; we cannot sit home and think about it, we need to go out and  face it.
  10. Lack of intention. Failing to be intentional in our actions and not being proactive about the kind of life we want for ourselves is a risk. We cannot wish for things any more, we need to plan, prioritize and achieve our goals.

If you would like to read the book that inspired this post, I would love to share it with you. Click here.


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About Author

Angela is a communications professional, avid writer and passionate African youth

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